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2 1/2 Year Old Deus Ex

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By Draggon
February 28, 2003

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This is one party I'm sorry to be late for. But, on the other hand, Deus Ex 2 is due out in June, so maybe it's a good thing that I'm just getting around to playing Deus Ex.

I acquired DE back in July '01 when I built my last computer. It came with either my sound card or video card, and I put it away for future playing, as I was up to my eyeballs in CounterStrike at the time. I've been playing Deus Ex for the past two nights and felt compelled to share my opinions. I'm not even sure what my motivation was in pulling the game out and installing it, other than a whim for something different.

Something different is exactly what I got. This game freaking ROCKS! If you've never played this game, it's kind of hard to describe. I guess that's why I never had a great interest in it. I'd read a little bit about it, and most of it was good, but no one seemed able to push the right buttons to get me to try it. Do yourself a favor, TRY IT! The game can be had pretty cheaply nowadays, and there's a free demo of the first level (and the training missions) at deusex.com.

I've played a lot of First Person Shooters in my day. I started with Wolfenstein and made all the rounds through Doom, Quake, Half-Life, etc. This is the first time that a game has successfully instilled a sense of CONSCIENCE in my gameplay. Typically in an FPS, you shoot anything that moves. Or at least anything that is labeled a "bad guy". You can ignore your conscience and do the same thing in this game, but I don't know how that would affect the final outcome yet. Personally, I've been using stealth and non-lethal attacks to subdue the enemy, because I'm not sure that I'm working for the "good guys". There's a conspiracy here, and I'm going to find out what it's all about.

There are also many sub-plots in the game. Like I mentioned, I've tried to go non-lethal, but occasionally I'll be surprised or put in a situation where deadly force is necessary. Depending on the situation, I'll either feel bad, because I boogered something up, resulting in unnecessary death, or I'll feel greatly justified because I just saved an "innocent" (relatively speaking) woman from being filled with buckshot by her pimp.

In addition to great plot, there is equally good interaction with NPC's. Some encounters are necessary to advance the game while others are, while not strictly necessary, very enjoyable from a game-filling perspective. Each NPC eventually runs out of interesting things to say, but I've not regretted investigating anyone yet ("Kill me please... I can't feel my fingers!")

One of the things about the game that is kind of freaking me out is its relevance to today's trying times. There is a lot of reference to terrorism and taking away personal freedoms in an effort to combat terrorism. Very effectively done.

The variety of items you can use in the game seems endless. You can carry up to 10 items on your "belt" which you access with the 1 through 0 keys. You also have a limited inventory screen where your extra items appear (the items on your belt also take up room on this screen). You find yourself making a lot of choices as to what to pick up and what to leave behind (kind of like in Diablo 2 with your "stash"). Additionally, you can pick up weapon "upgrades" that may affect more than one of your weapons, but you have to choose which weapon to permanently upgrade. Again, very cool.

The game contains a lot of RPG elements, too. Your character is a "nano-augmented" counter-terrorist agent working for the big government organization called NATCO. Your augmentations are added slowly as the game progresses, and there are permanent choices to be made here, too. Do you want extra melee-weapon combat ability or would you prefer super-human strength? You can't have both. The game also entails a point-based skill system similar to the system in NOLF2. You get skill points added by completing your missions and for exploring and discovering different things that may not even be necessary to complete the game. It has a very open-ended feel, and the levels are very cool. The skill points are allocated among your 10 or 12 skill areas and the decisions you make here reflect on the gameplay tremendously. Each skill has 4 levels with each level costing progressively more skill points.

This review is already getting lengthy, so I'll tie it up here. Deus Ex is one helluva game so far, and I'm not very far into it. Maybe I'll be disappointed eventually, but I have a feeling that won't be the case. I'll let you know more later...

Draggon


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